Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. Most commonly, this occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye which increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. There are four types of glaucoma: open-angle, normal tension, angle-closure, and secondary.
When fluid builds up inside the eyeball pressure increases, it can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the back of the eye. This increase in pressure is called glaucoma, and if left untreated it can severely damage eyesight as well as cause blindness. Like all eye diseases, it's easier to treat glaucoma if it's caught early. Our doctors can prescribe medication to reduce the pressure inside the eye, and there are surgical methods to decrease the problem if the medication doesn't solve the problem.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. This clouding can block the light from reaching the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in a general loss of vision. In some cases, a cataract can be surgically removed. Cataract surgery has a high success rate in otherwise healthy eyes but it is not always possible for people who also have other eye diseases. While the risk of cataract increases as you get older, other risk factors include diabetes, smoking, alcohol use, and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight.
On the front of the eye is a crystalline lens, which is made up of protein and water. Sometimes the protein liquefies and clumps together, sticking to the inside of the lens. When this coating begins to build up, it creates a cataract, a filmy covering that affects your eyesight. Cataract patients have vision that looks cloudy, foggy, or yellowed. Lifestyle changes can slow the progression of cataracts, but once they've progressed to the point where they affect your daily life, a surgical solution is the best answer. We can arrange a surgical procedure for your cataracts and give you professional follow-up care once your new lenses are in place.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a disorder that affects the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue lining the inside of the eye. Within the retina, the area responsible for sharp central vision (called the macula) deteriorates, causing blurred vision. This can cause a blind spot in the central area of vision, which leads to low vision.
There are two types of macular degeneration – non-exudative (dry form) and exudative (wet form). The dry form usually progresses slowly, while the wet form causes more rapid and severe vision loss due to abnormal blood vessels developing under the macula and leak fluid and blood. The biggest risk factor for macular degeneration is age. Other risk factors include genetics, race, smoking, and high blood pressure.
With age-related macular degeneration or AMD, the central vision in the eyes is destroyed. You may begin to see wavy lines or have a weakness in seeing the center of your viewing picture. Early detection and treatment are key to slowing vision loss. In most cases, medication and lifestyle changes give the best results in keeping the vision in place.
Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes. High blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak (called macular edema). Sometimes they close, stopping blood from passing through (called macular ischemia). At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. However, over time, it can severely damage the retina, leading to low vision. Anyone who has diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. The risk increases for those who have had diabetes longer, as well as those with poor control of blood sugar levels, high blood pressure or cholesterol as well as those who smoke.
For patients diagnosed with diabetes, it's doubly important to schedule an annual eye examination. They're in danger of developing a disease known as diabetic retinopathy, in which small blood vessels break and leak blood onto the retina. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness. Your best defense against DR is to control your blood sugar. There is no cure, but laser treatments can prevent further damage and reduce the risk of serious vision loss. Keeping your blood sugar and A1C levels at a normal rate is the best way to control the progress of this condition.
Low vision is a term for conditions that result in reduced sight and cannot entirely be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicines or surgery. Several eye diseases or conditions can cause low vision and here we will discuss the four most common causes of low vision and their risk factors.
Your yearly eye examination is clearly important for more than just checking your vision correction prescription. It's crucial for your eye health, and can be used to diagnose eye diseases at any age. If you have any questions about eye disease, or if you're looking for a Huntersville optometry office, call us at 704-896-3311.